Deadline Status Report.
Hey, we're alive. Sorry about the wait. You've been very patient and we've been very silent (sorry!) but we're going to have to ask you to be a little bit more patient (sorry!... again). It has been a pretty rough month, we are really bad at social media of all kinds (did I say sorry already? sorry!) and having so much to do was kind of overwhelming.
So we're going to be late, but I want this done by the end of June no matter what. In between then and now I'm going to be updating about the various rules tweaks that happened along the way between January and June. Believe me when I say no one is more disappointed than me about this.
That was the short version. The long version is that we were doing more or less fine (if a little behind schedule, see below) by the end of April, but it was manageable. May has been a cycle of getting swamped with more work than expected (it opened up with a series of shifts adding up to 33 hours on the 4, 5 and 6th), the crazy weather making me and everybody around me sick, then having to catch up with everything overdue and inevitably getting sick again. I wanted to get this written last Sunday but it was my turn to eat a four-day debuff for the whole weekend. I'm writing this now that I've caught up with the past three weeks' worth of crap, and the silver lining here is that we're almost ready to release, but not quite there yet. Here's a breakdown of things:
Art: Complete as of last month! By the second half of April it looked like we weren't going to get our last two art pieces on time. We could have waited but it would have meant a late delivery so we commissioned a rush job to take care of that. I bet you can taste the irony through the internet. Still, we've got everything we need on this front so that's a plus.
Rules: Complete as of... Last week! There were a handful of rules exploits (as in, completely unintended side effects born from poor wording choices or unintended rules interactions) in the book and changing those things opened the floodgates to incorporating more user feedback during the rest of April. Then, as I slowly realized we were going to be late no matter what we did, I pushed the rules changes deadline to the end of May... And when I looked again, the experimental rules document was severely outdated. I'll do a run down of all the changes in the next few days, because I want to go in detail rather than just dump a changelog here.
Layout: Near Complete. This was our big bump in the road. First our layout guy vanished into the aether, then we had to redo the cover and interior specifically for DrivethruRPG's specifications. I finished indexing the re-layouted book last night, so all that's left is touching up a few things here and there to make it look better. Our final pagecount is of 208, by the way, so we added a few pages of content.
Delivery: We'll start printing test books to see how they come out as soon as the above is finished. Surveys were just sent so expect .pdf's as soon as we have those ready and physical copies a little after that. I would say our delivery date shouldn't be pushed more than two weeks late but I really don't want to tempt fate any more.
Our Three Polls
Hey remember those polls from forever ago about three things I did not know whether to change or not? Here's the results:
The result of the first two polls is what we're going to go with. Pros an cons for both sides were presented already so there's not much left to discuss. What about Antimaims, though? Notice how not only opinions are fairly more spread out than in the other polls, but there were under half the voters. It is a complex issue and there was a lot of debating what to do.
Here's what came out of it:
Invincible Alloy and Expansion Pack get their cost bumped to 20 MP, the latter now also holds up to 30 MP within to compensate. Integrated Weapons and Secret Equipment stay the same. Invincible Alloy is the only Antimaim with more pro-nerf than anti-nerf votes, so I imagine this doesn't come off as much of a surprise to you all. But Expansion Pack is the one that least needs a nerf according to the poll. What's up with that? My reasoning here is that Antimaims are mostly fine as is, it is just the ones that serve a dual purpose as defensive upgrades that need to cost higher than the others, because they're also giving you the effect of a single shot Genre Power. Expansion Pack does sacrifice its antimaim effect for it though, so it gets more holding space to make up for it.
The key thing to note here is that pre-nerf Expansion Pack is deceptively powerful. Oh it seems innocent enough, holding just 15 MP and blocking one attack then no longer working. Big deal, right? Well, let's compare it to Integrated Weapons (which is generally agreed to be a much stronger option, judging by the poll and most of the feedback I get) and see what happens, alright?
Expansion Pack costs less than Integrated Weapons. One costs 10 MP while the other costs 15 MP, I think we can all agree the former wins this one.
Expansion Pack holds up to 15 MP while Integrated Weapons holds as many Weapons as you can afford. This seems like it favors Integrated Weapons, but when was the last time you strapped five or more guns to your robot? I would say three or four Weapons is around what most PCs get. How much do three or four Weapons cost? 15 or 20 MP. Expansion Pack is just as good as Integrated Weapons at the same job for a lot of characters. And it is cheaper, adding insult to injury.
Expansion Pack can hold anything while Integrated Weapons only holds Weapons. This one is also kind of obvious. Some builds don't need three or four Weapons and are just fine with one, two, or the Defaults, so you can use those while protecting Active Defenses or something else just as well.
Expansion Pack can be sacrificed for a +5 defense boost while Integrated Weapons is always on. Some would say this makes Expansion Pack unreliable, because you really don't want to have to sacrifice your stuff to survive in the first place. Here's the thing: Being alive and missing some Upgrades and Weapons is better than being dead, which is what would have happened if you had Integrated Weapons instead of the Expansion Pack that saved you from exploding horribly just now. While we're at it, would you buy an Assistant to get a Power that grants +5 Defense once per Operation? Well, Expansion Pack is cheaper than an Assistant and has an Antimaim effect, so it is kind of a really good deal.
So either Integrated Weapons needs a buff or Expansion Pack needs a nerf. Yeah, I think I'm going to go with what is behind door number two. Now, dt double the cost (and double the space) the new Expansion Pack is going to play very differently. It will protect a good number of Upgrades and Weapons at no energy cost, but now it is balanced with the use of the purge effect in mind (instead of giving that away for free). This means you'll want to build around it, kind of like Invincible Alloy or Secret Equipment.
That's all for now. The brunt of the work is done, so with any luck you'll be getting your game soon. Next Update: Pilot Character Updates - Miracles and Genre Powers.